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Robert A. Mills

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From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 1/7/2012 6:58:41 AM

Subject: MOHS - week of Jan 7, 2012

MOHS – week of January 7, 2012

Thanks to the recent caucus and debates it would appear the GOP has handed President Barack Obama his 2nd term on a silver platter. With or without my support, can you really see any of the remaining five Republican candidates in the White House?

I know, I know — we’d have been much better off with John McCane and Sarah Palin. Really? Depending on the State of the Union message on the 25th, I may sit out this election. Meanwhile . . .

My dermatologist looked at a biopsy recently and sent me to a surgeon who specializes in Mohs surgery, a type of skin cancer operation that requires the patient undergo a long, involved process whereby each bit of sliced tissue is microscopically examined until the active cells are completely removed.

I have been subjected to this procedure once before, and I knew what I was in for: a lengthy stay in the doctor’s office and a long wait before I am sent home, while the bad skin is minutely inspected — usually anywhere from 2 to 6 hours until the all clear is sounded.

Unfortunately, the specialist I was sent to maintained his surgery at the Emory Health Center, a remote facility in a totally alien part of Atlanta where no one ever goes. It is as far from my home in Cobb County as it can possibly be, while remaining in the same state. I had never been to the Emory complex before, and I will never go there again — under any circumstances (unless it has to do with my well-being.)

The appointment was scheduled for 8:30 AM. ‘Google’ said I should start out no later than 7:45. I was on the road by 7:10.

My Tom-Tom navigation GPS said the trip would take less than an hour before it would say You Have Reached Your Destination. That was the first lie. I did not make it to the facility until 9:06 AM — 1 hour and 54 minutes after leaving home!

Of course, I had gotten lost. My initial error was trusting all signage, especially the one that read “Emory Health Center.” It was on Clifton Road all right, but I did not know that the numbers ran north to south — I was traveling south to north. Consequently, I turned into the building marked as EMORY HEALTH CENTER in the 1700 block instead of the 1200 block.

A nurse having breakfast on a bench informed me I was at the wrong place. Asking her for implicit directions was my second, third and fourth mistake. “Simply go out of this parking lot and turn left. Go under the overhead bridge and there you are!” she directed.

It turned out the ‘overhead’ bridge did not require a left turn. It was straight ahead, and taking the road beneath it led me into a rural area where I nearly ran over a stray cow.

Back on the main road, I suddenly spotted the very same EMORY HEALTH CENTER sign that had earlier sent me astray. I knew I was completely lost. Not fooled this time, I kept going until I came upon the Emory Police Station. Surely, they could steer me right!

Wrong. There was no one on duty at the police station named Shirley.

Back in the car I again pulled out into traffic. I saw what appeared to be a pair of young men — students, I suspected — sauntering along the sidewalk. I rolled down my window and got their attention.

“Do you know where the Emory Health Center is?” I shouted out.

“The who? Whatcha lookin’ for, man? We ain’t frum roun hair!”

“I thought you were Emory students!”

“Say what?”

It was obvious they had no idea what I was talking about. I rolled up my window and moved on.

I then came up behind a young lady wearing a headset and listening to her iPod. Annoyed, she whipped off the earpiece and begrudgingly told me to keep on going — up and over the hill ahead — past the CDC building — and I would eventually see the EMORY HEALTH CENTER on my right. What she neglected to tell me, of course, is that it was comprised of two buildings: A and B.

It was already 8:30.

Viola! I followed her directions and there it was — the Emory Health Center’s two buildings — and the parking garage that was buried between them.

By the time I had driven in circles up to the 9th floor, I knew there were no vacant parking spaces left — everyone in the entire city of Atlanta was having Mohs surgery that day.

But suddenly I spotted one — in a row opposite to my trajectory and facing reverse diagonal stripes, under a huge but faded mural of Washington crossing the Delaware. I didn’t care. I backed in at an angle and left my car askew and ass-backwards, grotesquely but finally parked.

The nurse was waiting for me in Building A (lucky guess.) “You’re late,” she said, a slightly sardonic smile surfacing behind her smirking statement.

“I didn’t know you were in Beijing,” I groused. “Besides, parking was a problem.”

She nodded. “Should have gone to the very top floor. That’s where all of us park.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” I mumbled.

It was not until 3:22 PM, after four procedures, that the surgeon said, “We got it all. You can go home.”

“Do you validate parking?” I asked.

“You kidding? We do have a $75 maximum, though.”

Back in the parking garage at long last, I escaped from the elevator and walked about, unable to find my car. I was sure it was on the 9th floor — right there — under the pale painting of G. Washington standing precariously in the bow of a fragile rowboat, amidst the ice floes. My car, however, was nowhere to be seen. Gone. Vanished. Kaput.

Good grief, Jasper Brown! On top of everything else, I’ve been robbed! The car was stolen!

Needless to say, the Emory police were of little help — as also were the gendarmes from Fulton County and the City of Atlanta. Lt. F.D. Gippy of Atlanta’s finest, assured me they would find the vehicle if I would be so kind as to fill out the 436,821 documents, which he provided. I asked him how I was to get home? “Better call your wife,” he advised.

She found me twenty-six minutes later and took me safely to Cobb County. My car, a worthless and ancient (but ever faithful) 1997 Olds Cutlass, was found less than a month later just three blocks from Emory— abandoned but no worse for the adventure. Apparently, the thieves decided it wasn’t worth the effort to strip it.

I never did pay the parking fee. The ticket, now gone, had been securely hidden in the ashtray. I suspected, accurately, the doctor wouldn’t validate it, anyway.


Copyright©2012 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved


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